High School sports

No. 4 Centennial boys soccer rallies for 2-1 win over defending champ JM Bennett in 3A state semifinal

Down a goal at the half in Friday night’s Class 3A state semifinal, the Centennial boys soccer team talked about making a couple adjustments, but mostly the message was to have fun and get after it.

The No. 4 Eagles did just that — emphatically.


Riley Senisi found the top far post for the tying goal six minutes into the second half, Kodee Karcher headed home a corner kick by Caleb Addalia with 23 minutes left and the Eagles’ defense didn’t budge against defending state champion JM Bennett, holding on for a 2-1 win at Crofton High.

The Eagles (16-1) will vie for the program’s eighth state championship when they take on Tuscarora, a 4-0 winner over No. 10 Towson. It’s their first title game appearance since winning their last crown in 1995.


All the championships in the four boys and girls classifications will take place Thursday through Saturday at Loyola Maryland’s Ridley Athletic Complex. Dates and times have yet to be determined.

Riley Senisi, left, and Kodee Karcher pose for a photo after a 2-1 win over defending state champion JM Bennett in a Class 3A state semifinal on Friday night at Crofton High.

“The history is something we always start with every year,” Centennial coach Justin Thomas said. “They know it’s been quite awhile since we’ve been in state championship game and obviously we don’t talk about it with the goal always to win the next game. But it always kind of in the back of our minds, you’re thinking you want to get to that game, you want to play the last game. So now our goal is to win the last game.”

After the Clippers (14-2) from Wicomico County took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Luke Dunne in the 12th minute, the Eagles showed flashes but weren’t able to get even going into the break.

They showed urgency to open the second half, and it wasn’t long before Senisi provided the spark. After settling a pass on the left side from Adam Fowble, he took one dribble inside before finding the far post from 16 yards.

“After getting down 1-0, we knew we couldn’t hang our heads. We had a whole half to go, so I just wanted to get the team back up,” Senisi said. “As soon as I had the ball, I took a good touch and knew I needed to place it well. It was a much better shot than I could have imagined. Scoring in the top corner in the state semifinal is incredible, but it’s still just 1-1 and I knew we couldn’t stop.”

They still needed the go-ahead goal. It came on a set piece.

Awarded a free kick at the left edge, Addalia delivered a ball to the far post that Karcher firmly headed back across. It hit off the opposite post and went in.


Varsity Highlights


Get the latest high school sports stories, photos and video from around the region.

“During halftime, our coaches told us to just have fun and go out and get it. From the jump, I knew we were going to come back because we have a special group,” Karcher said.

From there, the Centennial defense had to fend off three dangerous corner kicks, including a save by goalie Kartik Sullivan on Emort George’s header in front with 4:17 to play. Tristan Wieland sent in one final ball from the right side that Sullivan punched away as the final whistle sounded.

Last season, Centennial ended a 26-year drought to win the Howard County championship and successfully defended the crown this year with an 11-1-1 regular-season mark. Now, the hope for next week is another dry spell comes to an end.

Goals: C — Senisi, Karcher; JMB — Dunne

Assists: C — Fowble, Addalia

Saves: C — Sullivan 3; JMB — Ziervogel 4


Half: JMB, 1-0